CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – Adam Cianciarulo locked up his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 class championship during the season finale – the STACYC Stability Cycle Ironman National from Ironman Raceway – on Saturday afternoon.
Cianciarulo entered the event with a 30-point cushion over Dylan Ferrandis and made life easy on himself by clinching the championship – his first professional title – in the opening moto.
The battle for the victory at Ironman saw Ferrandis do exactly what he needed to do coming into the afternoon, riding to an impressive 1-1 sweep of the motos and his fourth 250 class victory of the season.
The first 250 Class moto of the afternoon saw Kyle Peters prevail with the holeshot, followed by Mitchell Falk and Ferrandis. Right behind the top three was Justin Cooper and Cianciarulo. As Peters solidified his hold on the lead, Ferrandis quickly charged up into second. Behind him, both Cooper and Cianciarulo moved forward into second and third, respectively.
Peters held on to the lead for a lap, but Ferrandis made his move and put his Yamaha right where it needed to be out front. It didn’t take long for both Cooper and Cianciarulo to also make their way around Peters and set the stage for what would ultimately be the deciding battle for the championship. Ferrandis appeared to have control of the moto, but he soon came under fire from a hard-charging Cooper.
The teammates went at it for several laps, with Ferrandis able to fend off numerous pass attempts. Eventually, Cooper’s persistence paid off and he took the lead just over a quarter into the moto.
Cooper continued to charge ahead and soon opened up a comfortable lead. However, after they passed the halfway point of the race Ferrandis picked up his pace and went to work on chipping away at the deficit. As the 30-minutes-plus-two-laps moto surpassed the 20-minute mark Ferrandis was back on the rear fender of his teammate.
With about seven minutes to go he pulled the trigger on a pass and took away Coopers line, reclaiming the top spot. The Frenchman was able to quickly distance himself, and it soon put Cooper within reach of Cianciarulo, who started to make a late push in recognition of what transpired ahead of him.
While Ferrandis continued to lead in the waning moments of the moto, Cianciarulo caught Cooper and was able to make the pass for second with a minute remaining. Cianciarulo continued to close on Ferrandis over the final two laps, but he didn’t need anything better than second to wrap up the title.
Ferrandis carried on to his class-leading eighth moto win of the season by 3.6 seconds over Cianciarulo, who mathematically eliminated Ferrandis with the result.
The final 250 class moto of the season got underway with Ferrandis surging to the holeshot, with R.J. Hampshire, Cooper and Cianciarulo in tow. Both Cooper and Cianciarulo were able to fight their way by Hampshire on the opening lap and establish the same lead trio as Moto 1.
Ferrandis established a solid hold on the lead, and it didn’t take long for him to move out to a multiple second advantage over his rivals. In their chase of the Frenchman, Cianciarulo and Cooper engaged in a spirited battle for second. The Kawasaki rider made multiple attempts to get by Cooper, but was unable to find a way around. Cooper eventually put some distance between he and Cianciarulo and proceeded to track down Ferrandis for the lead. Cianciarulo continued to lose ground, ultimately giving up third to Sexton.
A few bike lengths for several laps separated the Yamaha teammates, but Ferrandis was able to stabilize his lead late in the moto and carry it through to the finish for a wire-to-wire victory by 4.9 seconds over Cooper. It was his ninth moto win of the season. Sexton followed in third, with Cianciarulo finishing fourth.
Cianciarulo’s championship campaign was highlighted by his unparalleled consistency, in which he finished on the overall podium at all 12 rounds. That’s the first time a champion has accomplished such a feat since Eli Tomac won the title during the 2013 season.
“It’s been a journey, for sure. Like I’ve said, when I was a kid I knew I’d be here [winning championships], but then things got taken from me and I didn’t know if I could anymore. I would have rather gone through what I went through to get to this point, because it made me a better human,” explained Cianciarulo. “I’ve learned so much about myself and I’ve had to grow. The [adversity] has catapulted me into doing something I didn’t think I could do, which is win this outdoor title. I’ll hold onto this forever. No one can ever take this from me.”
Ferrandis’ fourth overall win this season wasn’t enough for him to beat Cianciarulo for the 250 class championship.
“I knew [winning today] wasn’t going to be enough to win the championship today. AC [Cianciarulo] rode great all season, and he deserved [the title]. He was too hard to beat,” said Ferrandis. “This was the best season of my career. We showed good things this year. We won races and we showed that next season everyone can look at me to possibly win the championship.”